Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Atlanta area private sector employment breaks 2.6 million mark, unemployment rate unchanged in March

 Atlanta area private sector jobs, January 2019 - March 2022

Private sector employers in the Atlanta metro area posted more than 2.6 million jobs in March, according to newly released information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Over the past 12 months, private sector employment grew by 173,000 jobs, and the area posted nearly 75,000 more jobs than it had shown in February 2020, before the beginning of Covid-related cutbacks and shutdowns.

For the month, the Atlanta area added 14,500 jobs, combined private and public sectors before seasonal adjustment, while the unemployment rate remained at 3.2%, the same as in February.

Professional and business services added 3,000 jobs over the month and rose by 46,900 over the year.

The leisure and hospitality sector grew by 2,100 jobs in March, while job growth over the 12-month period totaled 28,800, an increase of more than 11.5%. Within the sector, jobs in food services and drinking places added 1,500 jobs over the month and 19,000 jobs over the past year.

Sectors of continued concern

Two sectors that remain worrisome is construction and other services. Construction added 800 jobs in March. For past 12 months, the sector added 1,900 jobs.

Atlanta area construction jobs, January 2019 - March 2022

Other services saw jobs grow by 1,200 over the month. Despite adding 6,000 jobs over the previous 12 months, the sector remains 4,400 jobs short of where it stood prior to the Covid period.

Atlanta area other services jobs, January 2019 - March 2022

These two sectors’ slow growth with construction jobs just now reaching their pre-Covid levels and other services remaining below may indicate concern on the part of employers as to whether the overall economy will continue its long-term upward trend. Other services includes repair and maintenance jobs, as well as membership association jobs. Employment in these categories can be a good indicator of employers’ intentions and willingness to commit funds to longer-term projects.

(Charts from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Friday, April 15, 2022

Georgia unemployment rate levels off in March, breaking previous trend

Georgia’s unemployment rate stood at 3.1% in March 2022. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the change in the state’s unemployment rate over the month was within the sample error range, so speaking statistically, the rate remained stable from February to March. A  year ago, the state’s unemployment rate stood at 4.4%.

Nonfarm employment was little changed in March, but recorded a 5.2% rise compared to March 2021. In March 2022, the state’s nonfarm employment stood at 4,740,400, up 234,400 over the past 12 months.

Unemployment in Georgia

Because the household sample for the state is only a small subset of the national sample, it takes a much greater change in the state’s unemployment rate to be statistically significant as smaller samples are more subject to greater sampling and non-sampling errors.

This can cause confusion where a number that may look smaller than the previous month may actually reveal no change due to the error range of the smaller sample.

Throughout 2021 and into 2022, Georgia’s unemployment rate was consistently below the nation. This trend was broken in March when BLS noted that the state’s unemployment rate was not statistically significantly different than for the nation as the national rate fell faster than for the state.

It is possible that this change in the trend may indicate that the state is reaching the bottom of its current trend and that Georgia’s unemployment rate may begin to rise in future months, either due to people currently not in the labor force deciding to return to search for work, or because more people find themselves unemployed.

If a rise in the unemployment rate is due to people being drawn back into the labor force, that can be a positive development for Georgia’s economy, while more people moving from employed to unemployed would be seen as a negative development.

Future months will better reveal whether Georgia can regain its relative outperformance.

Nonfarm employment

Over the first quarter of 2022, Georgia saw the addition of 65,700 nonfarm job, of which 64,300 were in the private sector and 1,400 resided in governments.

All of the private sector’s job growth was concentrated in service-providing industries, which added 64,700 jobs, while the goods-producing sector, which includes manufacturing and construction, saw a decline of 400 jobs in the first three months of the year.

Within the goods-producing sector, the construction industries showed a net loss of 4,000 jobs, while manufacturing in the state recorded an increase of 3,400 jobs.